As a runner, often you know that you need to push through things. You need to push your body to the limit knowing that it can go one step further. This is what we train for. This is what we know. This is what gets us to the finish line….. If…….and only if……. if we listen to our body.
As a runner, we also know that the starting line is our biggest challenge. You don’t just get there but train to get to the start line. Your excited. Your filled with energy. The gun goes off and your feet begin to fly. When running a short race, it is usually ok to fly like the wind. Let your feet move because if trained, the distance will be no issue. This is not the same for a marathon which is a different animal.
You must run where you are and not where you want to be. The gun goes off, you must pace yourself. There is no going out too fast and thinking you can bank time for the end. There is no pushing hard in the beginning only to push harder in the end. The truth of the matter is if you go out too fast, too hard; you will crash and burn. You may hold it together to finish, but usually it is not pretty and any time you think you banked in the beginning is lost at the end.
You ask how do I know this? Well I’ve been there. Done that. My first NYC Marathon before becoming Hypopara, I had a coach. I was trained for a 4:30 marathon. I blew it. I ran the first half of the marathon like there wasn’t a second half and it shows. I came off the first bridge and I took off like a bat out of Hell hitting paces that I had no business hitting that early in the race. Somehow I thought it would all work out until it didn’t.
Case in point…
I held it together….. Barely.
The beauty of having made this mistake then is that now I can use it as a learning experience of what not to do. Even more so now, I need to get out of my own way and be smart. I have to run where I am today and not where I want to be which is back to 2016 pre hypopara. I know…. Boo hoo me, I can’t hit these faster paces. But in my mind, I still think that I can. Which is the problem. My body has other ideas.
Here’s the thing too. I know that if I maintain a pace between 11:30 and 12:00 in the beginning, that not only will I have a better day but my body will cooperate. As my cohort told me the other day and I will paraphrase as it was a long wonderful, much needed conversation, “you’ve got a lot going on right now. You need to listen to your body because even though every runner pushes themselves to the limit. If you push too far, your might not be able to finish because of your medical stuff.”
And that right there is the truth of it. I was able to bounce back in 2016, because I didn’t need to worry about anything else except getting to the finish line. I knew my body would be able to do it and I knew that I could push it without fear. Ehhh, not so much now. I know that I can still push myself, but I also know that there is more to think about. I also know that I can push on shorter runs than longer ones.
So I need to get out of my own head. I need to pay attention to when to add not just fuel but calcium. I need to know that my illness is not in my head, but a real thing in my body and I need to be mindful of it. I need to realize that going out “slow” is smart. I need to tap into the knowledge that I have from doing this race in the past and use that so that I can run a smart race. I know even with the hiccups at the end with my feet, that I am ready for this race.
I just need to run the race and the pace that I should run. I need to run where I am today and not yesterday. I need to run so that there is reserve in the tank to smile as I cross the finish line. I need to fully embrace the mantra, your race, your pace and know it to be true. Most of all, I need to (and am) grateful that I am able to do this no matter how hard it will be.
I am blessed.
I am trained.
I am ready.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.